Getting to Know IoT Application Messaging Protocols

Getting to Know IoT Application Messaging Protocols

The continuing technological revolution across the globe is largely to blame for the increase in networking with smart devices and IoT. In addition to automating industrial operations, controlling city traffic, tracking health, controlling home appliances, managing fleets of vehicles, people are using IoT increasingly. Connecting smart devices such as smartphones, wearable devices, kiosks, appliances, and automobiles to the internet and exchanging information with servers is one of the key operations of these devices. For more information, visit

Internet access can be accessed by these devices in two ways. Other devices may have network connectivity built into them, while others connect through a gateway. It is worth mentioning here that at every layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, these devices utilize messaging and communication protocols to establish a connection to the internet. Every layer on an electronic device uses a different communication protocol based on its function.

Topology of IoT

A device with the Internet of Things fetches data either from an input device for example a touch screen, or from sensors for temperature, humidity, pressure and motion detection. A server stores and processes this data, and the end-user devices receive the resulting information to be analyzed and controlled.

Let’s take a look at a Smart Home setup as an example of this to illustrate what I mean. There are many smart home devices available, such as thermostats, door sensors, smart bulbs, smart refrigerators, smart TVs, and surveillance systems. There are two types of devices that are used in the network. The devices are connected directly to the Internet or to the gateway, which, in turn, is connected to the end user’s smartphone, mobile app or data center and vice versa.

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Stack of IoT protocols

At different layers of the OSI Model, different protocols are used in an IoT ecosystem. Using a protocol depends on the type and functionality of the application in question. In general, low-power protocols such as 6LoWPAN, Bluetooth BLE, and ZigBee are preferred. IoT device distance range, measured either in inches, meters, or miles, is another significant consideration when choosing a protocol.

IoT systems can be implemented in a variety of ways depending on the protocol selected for the application layer. Although there are many types of protocols for Internet of Things applications, among the most common ones are MQTT, XMPP, DDS, AMQP, and CoAP.

Transport for message queues and telemetry, MQTT

(M2M) is a protocol allowing machines to communicate with each other. Data is communicated from devices to servers by means of this publish-subscribe messaging protocol. Remote management of IoT devices is the primary purpose of MQTT. This is primarily used when a large number of small devices needs to be monitored and controlled via the Internet, such as parking sensors, underwater lines, and energy grids.


All of the above-mentioned protocols have unique applications in various operational scenarios. IoT applications can be developed by handpicking protocols based on the pros and cons of each. Quality of service, security, and reliability of the application are the main factors to consider when choosing any of them.

TCP is usually used to run these protocols. Even though TCP is reliable, it can become a bottleneck if the end-user input is slow. Because of the device-to-device communication architecture, DDS is better than other protocols when it comes to QoS. This protocol excels at addressing devices and enabling easy identification of their destinations. Despite this, it is slow and can’t handle large packets. CoAP, AMQP, and MQTT work well with network connections that connect servers and devices.

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